Facebook, Google meet with FDA to discuss online opioid sales

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Federal regulators are turning to some of the top tech giants to help stop the sale of illegal opioids online, CNBC reports.

Here are three things to know:

1. The FDA hosted a summit June 27 to discuss ways to combat the opioid crisis and illegal online opioid sales. Participants at the summit, who were invited to attend in May, included Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, Alibaba and several federal agencies, academics and advocacy groups, according to the report. The organizations reportedly participated in a number of panel discussions and roundtable discussions about current approaches and possible solutions.

2. Recent data from the CDC shows more than 63,000 people died from overdoses in 2017, a 21 percent increase from the number of deaths reported one year prior. The White House declared the opioid epidemic a public health crisis in October 2017 and extended the designation for the second time in April.

3. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said one of the contributing factors to the issue is that many consumers believe they are buying pain medication online when in fact, they're receiving a deadly form of pressed fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has fueled an increase in overdoses in recent years.

"I don't want to be caught one step behind a dangerous new turn of this crisis," Dr. Gottlieb said in a prepared statement, according to CNBC. "That's why we're going to hit back hard against the illegal sales of illicit drugs like fentanyl — drugs that are being bought and sold online in many cases, and are flowing through international mail facilities.

To access the full report, click here.

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